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7 Quaint Small Towns Near Toronto That Are Perfect For A Weekend 'Bleisure' Road Trip

Travelling for business? Here are some spots to check out on your down time.

7 Quaint Small Towns Near Toronto That Are Perfect For A Weekend Road Trip
Staff Writer, Studio

As Canada's largest city, Toronto is bustling with opportunities to connect with people professionally. If you're not based in Toronto, chances are you'll head there on a business trip sooner or later.

After a packed visit though, you might enjoy balancing things out with some peace and quiet. After all, adding some leisure onto your business trip is what "bleisure" travel is all about.

With dozens of adorable towns just a few hours away, a work jaunt to Toronto is the perfect opportunity to take a few extra days for a little getaway to recharge.

Getting into nature or soaking up some small-town charm is as easy as picking up a vehicle from National Car Rental and hitting the road. With an Emerald Club loyalty membership, you also get perks like bypassing the counter, choosing your vehicle, and the chance to earn free rental days.

So, with your rental ready to go, here are seven towns around Toronto that'll help you make the most of your time near the city.

Unwind With A Spa Day In Elora

Why You Need To Go: Just a 90-minute drive from Toronto, Elora is probably best known for the Elora Mill Hotel & Spa, where you can treat yourself to a massage followed by an afternoon watching the Grand River flow by. Now that's relaxation!

Nature lovers can step out to the beautiful Elora Gorge and hike the 3 kilometres of easy trail that overlook the 22-metre-deep gorge. You might just catch sight of experienced kayakers tackling the river's notorious rapids.

From art festivals to glamping guides, Elora’s website is full of inspiration on how to enjoy the best this charming area has to offer.


Rent A Boat In Port Perry

Why You Need To Go: Nestled on the edge of Lake Scugog, 90 minutes northeast of Toronto, you'll find Port Perry. This cozy town is the ultimate destination for anyone who loves being on the water.

There's a huge range of crafts available for rent at the Port Perry Marina — from 20-foot pontoons to kayaks and even paddleboats.

On dry land, you can check out the Sandbaggerz Driving Range & Mini Putt (open until 8 p.m.), or head into town for dinner at one of Port Perry's charming restaurants. More information on where to stay, shop, eat and play can be found online.


Enjoy A Lunch In The Sun In Stratford

Why You Need To Go: Two hours west of Toronto, Stratford has an unbeatable countryside vibe. Fun fact: Stratford is where "The Biebz" was born.

This place is a paradise for foodies too. Jump in your rental and head to Lynn River Farm for a farm-to-table feast, or satisfy your sweet tooth along the Chocolate Trail — a self-guided tour of the area's world-class confectioners and bakers.

If you're into theatre, you won't want to miss a Stratford Festival performance. Founded in 1952, this theatre company puts on plays, musicals and exhibits all year round.

A visit to the area’s website will leave you buzzing about the possibilities (and not just because of the immersive beekeeping experience).


Live The Small-Town Life In Niagara-On-The-Lake

Why You Need To Go: Niagara-on-the-Lake offers the best of both worlds when it comes to mixing small-town charm with modern luxuries.

When you rent your car for the 90-minute drive from Toronto, you might want to get behind the wheel of something elegant to match this classy getaway.

You can stroll along flower-filled Queen Street, see all the charming 19th-century buildings, or shop until you drop at the Niagara Outlet Collection.

Make sure to stop by the Prince of Wales Hotel for some afternoon high tea, and head to the region’s website to find out more about what’s on offer in the area.


Hike To The Top Of Blue Mountain

Why You Need To Go: Just two hours north of Toronto and overlooking the stunning Georgian Bay of Lake Huron, scenic Blue Mountain truly puts the "leisure" in "bleisure."

You might know Blue Mountain as a popular ski destination, but the warmer months offer plenty of activities too. With over 30 kilometres of trail to hike in Explore Park, there's something for everyone — whether you want to take it easy or get your blood pumping.

Plan ahead by checking out the trail guides on Blue Mountain Resort’s website, and while you’re there, look up Blue Mountain Village for some great places to eat and shop.


Dip Your Toes In The Water At Prince Edward County

Why You Need To Go: Two-and-a-half hours from Toronto, Sandbanks Provincial Park in Prince Edward County is the definition of a tranquil getaway.

Nothing beats cruising along Lake Ontario and arriving somewhere with water so blue and sand so white you’ll feel you’ve escaped to the tropics.

Getting to paradise is easy when you're an Emerald Club member. You can reserve your vehicle from YYZ, select a model from the Emerald Aisle and be on your way.

After exploring Sandbanks, stop in at Picton for some gourmet food, Bloomfield for some quirky shopping, and Wellington or Hillier to soak up that wine-country energy — all of which you can check out on Prince Edward County’s website before you visit.


Worry About Absolutely Nothing In Innisfil

Why You Need To Go: You'll only have to drive an hour to reach the town of Innisfil on Lake Simcoe, right outside of Barrie.

Innisfil is home to Friday Harbour Resort, an all-season resort that's basically its own small town. From its 200-acre nature preserve to the 18-hole golf course, this destination really has everything.

If you visit during the summer, there are all sorts of activities available, including bike rental, beach volleyball, lawn games and paddling. The hardest part is choosing what to do first.


After a couple of years of staying put, getting to travel again is certainly exciting and potentially a little nerve-wracking. To put you at ease, National Car Rental’s Complete Clean Pledge lets you hit the road with confidence, knowing your rental has been thoroughly cleaned and sanitized — all you have to do is enjoy your adventure.

There's no shortage of things to do outside of the 6ix, and you can turn a work trip into a "bizcation" by adding these fun spots to your itinerary. Renting a car lets you conveniently explore these destinations in comfort and at your own pace.

Book through the National Car Rental app and, when your trip's over, just drop your vehicle off and take the memories with you. It's as simple as that!

To see how easy it is to turn your work trip into a getaway, check out National Car Rental's website or follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

Before you get going, check out our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.

May Ning
Staff Writer, Studio